Telluride’s Magic Meadows Trail
Update: As of fall 2019, the Magic Meadows Trail is completed.
The Magic Meadows Trail replaced sections of the previous “Alta Lakes Trail” that connects Prospect Trail to Sunshine Trail. The following trail recap provides information on this new trail build. Thank you to everyone who donated their time to help complete construction of this new inventory trail.
Magic Meadows Trail
In the fall of 2018, construction began on the new Magic Meadows Trail in the Alta Lakes area. The new trail replaced the previous Alta Lakes Trail that had been in existence which crossed private land (which happened during the Wilson Peak land exchange). The new Magic Meadows Trail was built and funded by the United States Forest Service (USFS), Norwood Ranger District and Colorado Parks and Wildlife with assistance from the USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Trail Crew and Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC). In addition, Telluride Mountain Club (TMtC) and San Miguel Bike Alliance (SMBA) hosted public trail work days to encourage local and regional participation in the build of the new trail. Trail work began on September 1, 2018 and was finished in the fall of 2019.
The Magic Meadows Trail links the Prospect Trail from the Telluride Ski Resort to the Sunshine Trail (T-35) along Highway 145. The entire length of the trail is around 6 miles from trailhead to trailhead. The segments of new trail have all been built on USFS land making the trail a legal, inventory trail. This trail accommodates mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, and equestrians. It is closed to motorized vehicles.
The purpose of this new trail build and reroute is to move the existing trail onto USFS land and not cross private property. The original Alta Lakes Trail was a user-created trail, dating back to equestrian use when the Skyline Guest Ranch was operational. The trail was on a patchwork of public and private lands. The new Magic Meadows trail will use some existing portions of the original Alta Lakes Trail and will have new routes to avoid private property.
This trail is being built to accommodate multi-use but is being designed with mountain biking at the forefront of use. This means that special consideration is being given to trail grade, switchback radius and will feature mountain bike-specific features.
The current user group that dominates use in this area is mountain bikers. The trail often sees use from hikers and trail runners. Equestrian use is limited and mostly during the fall hunting months. This trail will accommodate intermediate through advanced recreators.
The Magic Meadows trail will be a fundamental connector trail in the Telluride region and will see quite a bit of use.
The new Magic Meadows Trail is shown on the map below. The yellow highlighted lines show the existing portions of the Alta Lakes Trail that will be used for the new trail alignment. The pink highlighted lines show the new, rerouted sections that will be built in the fall of 2018. The purple highlighted lines depict existing USFS trails segments. The map also shows sections of trail that will be reclaimed and closed. The map also shows property ownership.
When completed, the entire length of the Magic Meadows Trail will be approximately 6 miles. The sections of trail that will require a complete rebuild will be around 3.2 miles.
Trail Design & Construction
The Norwood Ranger District hired Mountain Sage Trails, LLC to aid in the layout and design of the new trail. The USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Trail Crew will be constructing the trail with help from SCC.
Both the Telluride Mountain Club and San Miguel Bike Alliance will be assisting with public trail work days starting on Saturday, September 8th and going through the completion of the trail build.
Maintenance & Stewardship
Once completed, the Magic Meadows Trail will be added to the USFS trail inventory. This means that they will be in charge of the trail and will maintain the trail in the future. Telluride Mountain Club anticipates helping with trail maintenance through public trail work days as much or as little as needed. The Telluride Mountain Club is currently in communication with the USFS Norwood District office to adopt this trail.
The highly anticipated Magic Meadows Trail will begin construction on September 1, 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of that month. The new trail will be built entirely on USFS land using existing sections of the Alta Lakes Trail combined with new trail segments. Though the trail will be enjoyed by trail runners, hikers and equestrians, it is being built with mountain bikers in mind.
The Telluride Mountain Club encourages your participation in public trail work days on the Magic Meadows Trail in September 2018.
Rode the new section for first time this weekend- Alta is ruined, the 1ft wide singletrack that has existed in that area for 20+ years is now a bike park style trail that doesn’t belong in anything but a bike park. Sad to lose one of telluride’s greatest bike rides to this….we need to keep singletrack -single and leave rocks and roots in the trails too. Please don’t do this same thing to the west end of deep creek. It’s my goto evening ride with my dogs in the spring. Out and back from west end – coming back down that section is a blast. Going up is tough but if I can make 95% of it on a 6” travel bike with a coil rear shock than it’s hard but doable…..
Thanks for your comment. The Telluride Mountain Club has worked with the USFS for a number of years to save the Alta Lakes trails system. After the Wilson Peak Land Exchange several portions of the trails became private land, which put much of the area at risk of complete closure. The USFS raised significant funds and designed the trails entirely on its own. The Telluride Mountain Club provided public support to ensure the trails system was not closed entirely. This included seeking public comment on many occasions and trail work days. While the Telluride Mountain Club played no role in designing the alignment, grade, contours of the trails, we encourage you to get involved on future trails projects. This would help ensure that Telluride’s “core” users are satisfied in the future. It is difficult for the organization to seek for users that are silent during the public approval/comment process.
The new Magic Meadows Trail is awesome! It has a real nice flow to it. Thanks for all your hard work making it happen. I am looking forward to the new Mill Creek bypass trail. Is that still on track to be completed this year?